Sunday, November 20, 2016

NASCAR Championship Today On NBC, 1:30 Central Time -- November 20, 2016

The four drivers in the "Chase" will be starting in the middle of the pack after completing really, really poor qualifying times. Who wants to bet that they did not want to "blow their engines" 24 hours before the championship race. Even if they finished dead last in the qualifying trials, they were still going to be in the championship race.

The Literature Page

I'm in the process of cleaning up the house which means throwing out stacks of old periodicals. But before throwing out any copy of London Review of Books or The New York Review of Books I take one last look to see if there is any article that needs to be linked for future reference.
A google search of "Keynes" at this blog will note that I've actually mentioned him several times. However, I have never linked one of the better recent books that discusses Keynes. From The New York Review of Books : "Money: The Brave New Uncertainty of Mervyn King," by Paul Krugman, in a review of Mervyn King's The End of Alchemy: Money, Banking, and the Future of the Global Economy. A very worthwhile read. 

A short excerpt:
King argues ... that economic decisions always take place under conditions of "radical uncertainty" -- ignorance about the future that can't be quantified by probabilities, so that there is no such thing as optimizing behavior.
People cope with this uncertainty by settling on "narratives" that are conventionally accepted at any given moment, but can suddenly change. And he urges economists to turn away from supply-and-demand-type analysis, which he calls the economics of "stuff" -- as in markets for prosaic physical goods - in favor of the economics of "stuff happens." 
Sometimes I think Trump makes decisions based on "stuff" where as Janet Yellen (and her predecessors) make decisions based on "stuff happens."

On another note, the most important concept that political junkies (including me), need to understand: "narratives." What they are, how they are used, how to maximize their effect. 

The Political Page

November 20, 2016, T+12: the president-elect met with Mitt Romney over the weekend. The facts suggest that Mitt Romney would not be a good fit for the Trump team; the tea leaves suggest they both know that.

By the way, for those (including myself) who raised questions about Trump's alignment (as it were) with the Reagan Republican party, his first appointments practically shout that he is well aligned with Reagan Republicans. Trump has populated the three or four most critical posts with what some call hardliners.

The rest of the appointments are of interest, but none, not even the Secretary of Defense, carry the weight of those positions already appointed, at least one of which does not require Senate confirmation. Some have argued that Secretary of the Treasury is important; perhaps. Quick, no googling: what's the first name of the current SecTreasury? That's what I thought. How important is the treasurer of any organization to which you've belonged? That's what I thought.

He has already released his short list from which he will select his Supreme Court nominee.

November 20, 2016: From "What James Comey Did," in The New York Review of Books. It begins:
Whatever else one might say about the just-concluded 2016 presidential election, one thing is certain: FBI Director James Comey played an outsized and exceptionally inappropriate part. 
I agree that James Comey "played ... a ... part" in the 2016 presidential election but it was not "outsized." He was, of course, "exceptionally inappropriate." Among the FBI agents, he was apparently the only one who, with eyes wide shut, was unable to see the conspiracy to obstruct justice, the conspiracy to evade national security rules and regulations. Had he played his role correctly, Hillary would be facing felony charges. Only those with their eyes wide shut can't see that.

David Cole, the writer of the linked article, is obviously a legal scholar to be able to note the fine points involving Comey. He must have had eyes wide shut when observing the meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch on the tarmac. Wow. At the end of the day, books will be written about the Comey Comedy but the only footnote about this whole affair worth reading is the conspiracy to obstruct justice with that tarmac talk. 

Speaking of comedies:

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